Today in Islamophobia

A daily list of headlines about Islamophobia
compiled by the Bridge Initiative

Each day, the Bridge Initiative aims to bring you the news you need to know about Islamophobia. This resource will be updated every weekday at approximately 11:00 AM EST.

Today in Islamophobia Newsletter

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13 Jun 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In the UK, Robert Barrowcliffe, who is standing against deputy leader of the Labour Party Angela Rayner for the Ashton-under-Lyne seat, has publicly apologized after a 2017 Islamophobic Facebook post has come to light, meanwhile in France, human rights groups have called on the International Olympic Committee to help overturn a ban on French athletes wearing headscarves, arguing that the prohibition had left many Muslim athletes “invisibilised, excluded and humiliated”, and in Canada, The Toronto Star is reporting that the Canadian government has expressed concerns to Israel after an investigation alleged that Israel hired a private firm to influence public opinion in Canada and the U.S. using misinformation and Islamophobia. Our recommended read of the day is by Masood Farivar for Voice of America on how anti-Muslim hate groups in the United States have surged back into the spotlight in recent months, reinvigorated by the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. This and more below:

United States

Anti-Muslim hate groups in US surge back into spotlight | Recommended Read

Once seemingly fading into obscurity, anti-Muslim hate groups in the United States have surged back into the spotlight in recent months, reinvigorated by the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. Many of these groups, such as Jihad Watch and ACT for America, emerged in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. and thrived on public fears of terrorism. But as those fears waned in recent years, so did the groups’ sway. Some disbanded, while others gravitated to other hot-button issues. From a peak of 114 in 2017, their number dropped to a mere 34 last year, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit that tracks hate groups. In early 2023, "Islamophobia was down to a slow trickle," SPLC senior research analyst Caleb Kieffer said. Then came the October 7 Hamas assault on Israel, which claimed about 1,200 lives and triggered a massive Israeli military response in Gaza. Anti-Muslim groups that had "opportunistically" seized on divisive issues, such as critical race theory and LGBTQ-inclusive policies, swung back into action. "These anti-Muslim groups went right back to their core messaging," Kieffer said in an interview with VOA. "They've been going hard on the rhetoric since October last year." read the complete article

D.A. Bragg Announces Prison Sentence Of Gino Sozio For Anti-Muslim Hate Crime Slashing In Midtown

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., today announced the sentencing of GINO SOZIO, 40, to 9 years in state prison for slashing a 22-year-old Muslim-American man, while he was out with friends, in an anti-Muslim attack in Midtown on December 31, 2022. On April 3, 2024, a New York Supreme Court jury found SOZIO guilty of one count each of Attempted Assault in the First Degree as a Hate Crime, Assault in the Second Degree as a Hate Crime and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree. SOZIO was sentenced on June 11, 2024. “Gino Sozio committed a deliberate and shocking act of hatred when he slashed a Muslim-American man, who continues to suffer from pain due to his injuries,” said District Attorney Bragg. “The devastating impact of this hate crime on the victim goes far beyond his physical injuries and I hope this sentence offers him a sense of justice. My office is laser-focused on holding individuals accountable who commit bias-motivated violence against Manhattan’s diverse communities.” read the complete article

United Kingdom

Election candidate apologises for Islamophobic Facebook post written after Manchester Arena bombing

A political candidate for Reform UK, standing in the general election, has apologised after a Islamophobic social media post has come to light. Robert Barrowcliffe, who is standing against deputy leader of the Labour Party Angela Rayner for the Ashton-under-Lyne seat on July 4, was 18 when he wrote the post on Facebook back in 2017. The post contained a number of criticisms towards the Muslim faith, referencing extremist attacks and the laws of Islam, claiming it is not the ‘religion of peace’. In his apology, the Mossley resident explained that he was a teenager at the time and the post was written in anger following the Manchester Arena bombing. The laboratory analyst and professional wrestler highlighted that he lost close friends in the attack on May 22, 2017 which led him to speak with such anger - something he now regrets. read the complete article

Fact Check: Viral post about number of Muslim mayors in UK is misleading

Misleading, partly false assertions about Islamic prominence in Britain have resurfaced online and been shared widely in the aftermath of Sadiq Khan’s re-election as London mayor. The posts, one of which has received more than 20 million views, opens new tab on X and has been shared widely on Facebook, claim there are Muslim mayors in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Blackburn, Sheffield, Oxford, Luton, Oldham and Rochdale. It also says Britain has more than 3,000 mosques and 180 sharia courts or councils and that every school in the UK is required to teach lessons about Islam. But the claim is partly false because several of the cities or towns did not, at the time of the post on May 4, have a Muslim mayor. read the complete article


Canada confronts Israel over Islamophobic misinformation campaign

The Canadian government contacted Israel because of a "coordinated" and "Islamophobic" misinformation campaign that targeted Canadians online amid the crisis in Gaza, according to a recent report. The Toronto Star said Canada disclosed the concerns after the Haaretz newspaper in Israel alleged that a state branch in that country hired a private firm to influence public opinion in Canada and the US concerning Israel’s conduct during the Gaza crisis. James Emmanuel Wanki, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, told the Toronto Star that the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) that monitors foreign state-sponsored misinformation is investigating the allegations and has corroborated some aspects of the claims. "Global Affairs is concerned by reports of a divisive, coordinated, Islamophobic, and inauthentic information campaign targeting Canadians on social media platforms," a statement by Wanki noted, adding that Canada has conveyed its "concerns over these allegations directly to the Government of Israel." Amira Elghawaby, Canada’s anti-Islamophobia official, described the allegations as "extremely disturbing," emphasising the importance of the federal government addressing the issues to prevent the vilification and marginalisation of any minority group in Canada, which she told the Toronto Star undermines social cohesion. read the complete article


Success of German far-right party in EU election has many Jews hearing echoes of Nazi past

The success of German extremists in Sunday’s European Parliament election has mainstream Jewish leaders and politicians worried. Some say they fear the country is veering into political territory that resembles the era just before the rise of the Nazis here nearly a century ago. The strong showing for far-right parties reflects worries about increasing numbers of Muslim refugees since 2015 in Germany. The Alternative for Germany Party stresses isolationism, takes an anti-EU and pro-Russian stance, and is accused of fomenting anti-Muslim sentiment. Some of its most extreme representatives have also belittled the Holocaust, saying that Germany has paid enough penance for the sins of an older generation. That the far-right party has now done so well in Europe, Adler said, is “extremely alarming: for democracy and, as one of the most vulnerable groups, even more so for us Jews.” The AfD is “mimicking a pro-Jewish party because it fits their anti-Muslim agenda,” Lagodinsky said. “And this is something appealing for our community, which is really worried and insecure now and under attack, I would say.” read the complete article


IOC urged to help overturn French headscarves ban at Olympics

Human rights groups have called on the International Olympic Committee to help overturn a ban on French athletes wearing headscarves, arguing that the prohibition had left many Muslim athletes being “invisibilised, excluded and humiliated”. The call, outlined in a letter published by organisations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, comes less than two months before the Olympics and Paralympics are set to begin in Paris. The issue of athletes and headscarves at the Olympics, however, has long rumbled in the background in the lead-up to the Games. Last September, France’s minister for sport highlighted the government’s commitment to secularism to explain that athletes representing France would be barred from displaying religious symbols, including headscarves, during sporting events. The UN criticised the ban, saying that women should not be forced to abide by dress codes, while the IOC was swift to say that France’s restrictions would not apply to athletes from other countries. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 13 Jun 2024 Edition


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